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Tech & Science Don't go too budget on your child's first smartphone

03:30  27 february  2020
03:30  27 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Don ’ t go too budget on your child ' s first smartphone . Buying a first phone for your child can be a daunting task with so many options on the market, but it can pay to pay a little A boy who survived the Oatlands tragedy, which killed four other children , opened his eyes from a coma this week.

Don ’ t go too budget on your child ' s first smartphone . Buying a first phone for your child can be a daunting task with so many options on the market, but it can With Samsung the latest smartphone maker to drop the 3.5mm port, getting good audio from your phone is less convenient than ever.

a woman holding a cell phone: The cheapest phone might not be the best first phone for a child. © Supplied The cheapest phone might not be the best first phone for a child.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get a half-decent smartphone these days, but be wary of going too cheap.

You might expect the teenage children of a tech journalist to have all the latest gadgets at their fingertips, but they've discovered there's a downside – they've actually been the very last among their friends to get a smartphone or sign up to social media.

This year my eldest is in Year 11. Let's call him Mars – the codename we used when he was young and we didn't want him to know what we were talking about. Mars has a little sister, Venus, who is in Year 8.

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Buying a smartphone for your child is a big step. So scroll down to get our advice on sticking to a budget , setting up parental controls and choosing the right phone and accessories. Your child will most likely be excited about getting their first phone – but it’ s important to manage their expectations.

A budget is going to give you an action plan and clear picture of where your money is ending up each month. Budgeting will help you achieve the goals you’re working toward—whether that’ s getting out of debt, saving for retirement, or just trying to keep your grocery bill from getting out of hand.

Mars didn't get his first smartphone until the middle of last year, when he began commuting into the city for Year 10 work experience. It seemed like a good milestone, plus it gave us a solid line in the sand for when Venus would start asking for a phone.

Before this, Mars claimed he was the only kid in Year 10 without a mobile phone – a situation he accepted with surprising grace to the point where it became a running joke.

I don't think he was exaggerating. He was actually renowned amongst his peers for not having a phone, but he acknowledged that he didn't really need one since he walked only a short distance to school and rarely came home to an empty house. Of course, a few months later, he got his first girlfriend and now it seems he can't live without a constant stream of text messages.

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Choosing the right cell phone to get your kids can be a big enough challenge on its own. Many parents often find it even harder to decide which plan from what company is the best option for their young ones. There are certainly many companies and plan options to choose from.

Anyway, Mars didn't need anything too flash for his first phone, so I started him off with a budget $129 Alcatel 1X smartphone running the stripped-down Android Go. That might seem a bit unfair when I've got an $800 iPhone XR in my pocket, but that would be a bit steep for a first phone and Apple refuses to make budget phones, so Android it is.

Alcatel's 1X is a super-basic phone designed for people who don't need all the bells and whistles – perhaps pre-teens or seniors – with a price tag that wouldn't sting too much if the phone were damaged or lost.

As Android Go phones go, it's more powerful than the $149 Nokia 1 but the Alcatel 1X still wouldn't really cut it for anyone who wanted to do much more than make calls and send text messages. Mars persevered, declining my offers of an upgrade and perhaps relishing his new-found infamy as the owner of the least powerful phone in Year 10.

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Budgeting is simpler with a mobile app. Budget apps make managing finances a lot easier. Know what' s great about a budget app on your smartphone or tablet? You don ' t have to be on the go for the mobile app to come in handy. Personal finance is important on a shopping trip, of course, but you

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I recently convinced him to test out the $199 Alcatel 1S, which has more grunt under the bonnet and runs a full version of Google's latest Android 9.0 "Pie". It only took three minutes for him to agree to upgrade, as now his phone could actually cope with doing two things at once. Unlike the 1X, the 1S launches the camera quickly, happily streams Spotify to our smart speakers and switches between apps without stopping for a long, hard think about life.

To be honest, this new Alcatel 1S is still far from a powerhouse and won't cut it for some people, but for Mars it feels like a major step up after persevering with the sluggish 1X for nine months.

In hindsight, I'd be reluctant to recommend Android Go or such a cheap smartphone again when a little bit more money gets you a whole lot more phone with a lot less frustration. The big winner here is Venus, who can expect a slightly better first smartphone in two years when she heads out to Year 10 work experience.

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